Alexia Strides Ahead

As a pre-schooler Alexia Grace was quiet, withdrawn and not keen to join in. When she started school, she often missed what children were saying in the playground and forming friendships became difficult. She missed what the teacher was saying in the classroom and soon started to slip behind in her work. Alexia’s mother, Anne-Marie, said there were lots of tears and tantrums of frustration at home and that as a result of all the communication difficulties, at the age of seven, Alexia developed an anxiety disorder.

“We went down a lot of paths looking for a reason for Alexia’s lack of focus, inability to understand what was being said to her, her poor performance at school and her slow withdrawal. We thought that when she ignored us, she was being rude. We never realised that this was all part of Auditory Processing Disorder,” said Anne-Marie.

After an assessment by an Educational Psychologist and a visit to APD specialist clinic, SoundSkills, Alexia’s diagnosis was confirmed. Alexia was fitted with an FM listening device that would enable her to directly hear the teacher’s voice so that distance and background noise were no longer a problem.

The FM system looks similar to hearing aids and come in a range of colours. “When we had the FM system fitted and Alexia had to pick which colour she wanted we all thought that she would pick a skin coloured tone so that it would blend in but she treated it as a fashion accessory and chose the bright red! “We were concerned that the other children would tease her but in the classroom Alexia enjoyed the positive attention and support from her peers when the FM system was introduced.”

Now Alexia follows instructions more accurately and participates in classroom discussions; her vocabulary has expanded due to being able to hear the full sound of every word and her confidence has improved dramatically. In fact, so much so, that just before Christmas Alexia signed with August Models and Talent and is hoping to do some modelling and commercial work – something she wouldn’t have dreamed of a year ago.

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Vibrations,  Autumn 2011
Magazine of the National Foundation for the Deaf